The inexplicably still employed Jennifer Rubin, still pumping Benghazi as a scandal, posted this in the early evening yesterday:
By Jennifer Rubin
In a blockbuster report, John Solomon, the former Associated Press and Post reporter, has ferreted out the president’s daily brief that informed him within 72 hours of the Sept. 11 attack that the Benghazi attack was a jihadist operation.
Please proceed, Ms. Rubin.
Citing officials directly familiar with the information, Solomon writes in the Washington Guardian that Obama and other administration officials were told that “that the attack was likely carried out by local militia and other armed extremists sympathetic to al-Qaida in the region.”
Overlooking the fact that there’s some space between “likely carried out” and “was a jihadist operation,” let’s look at what our old buddy David Petraeus told Congress yesterday. This is from an Associated Press story posted yesterday on the WaPo website:
Testifying out of sight, ex-CIA Director David Petraeus told Congress Friday that classified intelligence showed the deadly raid on the U.S. Consulate in Libya was a terrorist attack but the administration withheld the suspected role of al-Qaida affiliates to avoid tipping them off.
The recently resigned spy chief explained that references to terrorist groups suspected of carrying out the violence were removed from the public explanation of what caused the attack so as not to alert them that U.S. intelligence was on their trail, according to lawmakers who attended Petraeus’ private briefings.
He also said it initially was unclear whether the militants had infiltrated a demonstration to cover their attack….
;;;After the hearings, lawmakers who questioned Petraeus said he testified that the CIA’s draft talking points in response to the assault on the diplomatic post in Benghazi that killed four Americans referred to it as a terrorist attack. Petraeus said that reference was removed from the final version, although he wasn’t sure which federal agency deleted it.
Adding to the explanation, a senior U.S. official familiar with the drafting of the points said later that a reason the references to al-Qaida were deleted was that the information came from classified sources and the links were, and still are, tenuous. The administration also did not want to prejudice a criminal investigation in its early stages, that official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the process publicly.
Even the John Solomon article Rubin cites explains what happened pretty well —
Most of the details affirming al-Qaida links were edited or excluded from the unclassified talking points used by Rice in appearances on news programs the weekend after the attack, officials confirmed Friday. Multiple agencies were involved in excising information, doing so because it revealed sources and methods, dealt with classified intercepts or involved information that was not yet fully confirmed, the officials said.
“There were multiple agencies involved, not for political reasons, but because of intelligence concerns,” one official explained.
The rightie blogosphere (collective IQ: 12) is still screaming that Obama lied to the American people. As Kevin Drum pointed out a couple of days ago, this is a conspiracy in search of a motive.
As best I can tell, the suggestion from the right has been that Obama didn’t want to admit that Benghazi was a terrorist attack because….well, I’m not sure, exactly. Something about how this would blow a hole in his claim to be decimating al-Qaeda via drone attacks. Or maybe it would remove some of the luster from being the killer of Osama bin Laden. Or something. But one way or another, the story is that Obama was deeply afraid of admitting that terrorists are still out there and want to do us harm.
This has never made a lick of sense. If anything, the continuing existence of terrorists justifies his drone attacks. And it certainly wouldn’t do him any harm in an election. The American public routinely rallies around a president responding to a terrorist attack.
Of course, if George W. Bush were still in the White House and running for re-election when this happened, he and his minions would be screaming TERRORISTS TERRORISTS TERRORISTS GONNA GITCHA IF I’M GONE BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA even if it meant throwing sources and methods under the bus.
If you didn’t already know Petraeus pretty much shot down the claim that the Obama Administration was engaged in some kind of political coverup, just watch John McCain immediately after the testimony:
He was deflated like an old, tired balloon. McCain’s no genius, but we now know he’s a few shades brighter than Jennifer Rubin. Given enough time he actually can add two and two together and come up with four.